Zim economic meltdown spawns con-art

A devastated young lady in her late 20s could be seen constantly throwing hands in the air in a sign of despair. Onlookers and passersby begin to gather around her to inquire about her situation but she seems not ready to explain the utter shock of finding out that she had been conned by a person she had trusted.

As people continue to gather and ask questions she could only manage to ask them back “Has anyone seen a girl who was standing right here?”

Clearing her throat first, she began her long and emotional explanation of how it started.

“I met a very friendly lady of my age at the Joina City traffic lights while walking towards Copacabana. We talked a lot and in the process, she left her bag with me as she entered a shop to buy something. This is where I lost it because as we proceeded, I also had to answer the call of nature and she voluntarily offered to keep my bag while I got into a toilet. I did not take time and in less than a minute I was back only to find nobody as she had vanished into thin air with my laptop, mobile phone and other valuables including national identity documents. I couldn’t believe what I saw because for a second I thought it was just another bad dream but this turned not to be,” narrated the lady as her emotions continued to get the better of her.

Stories like this have become common in Harare and many other towns and cities as economic challenges facing Zimbabwe continue to take its toll on the people.

The new crop of con-artistes have a sophisticated level of playing with people’s minds and have dumped guns for brains. They play with your mind and there is no doubt that their methods are pre-tested and continuously rehearsed before they are taken to the streets.

Among other schemes, they use a method that has withstood the test of time calling unsuspecting people and offering them ‘lucrative’ business deal, which will never see light of the day.

Investigations revealed that with the emergence of foreign supermarkets in Zimbabwe, the con-artistes have devised other ingenious ways of getting a chunk of the cake, by placing posters in strategic points announcing employment opportunities.

The posters which are placed in strategic places like bus stops and restaurants, announce to job seekers that a certain foreign supermarket is hiring employees and those who apply will be asked to pay an administration fee, or in some instances taken for training before the recruiters disappear with the loot.

Early this year, hundreds of Zimbabwean women got stranded in Kuwait after they were lured on the pretext of lucrative jobs. This turned out to be a human trafficking syndicate that took advantage of Zimbabwe’s economic woes to make a killing.

Recently, the story of a woman who won $10 000 during the OK Grand Challenge promotion was reported in local newspapers after con-artistes sold her a housing stand that belonged to someone else.

Many people have seen, frail and hungry looking women asking for a dollar or coin to go home after failing to locate their relatives in town. While their plea may seem genuine, appealing to your inner conscience to assist, it has turned out that this is another new way of living for con-artistes who move to corner of the CBD repeating the same trick.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a police officer stationed at Harare Central Police told 263Chat that on several occasions they have tried to waylay these con-artistes without success.

He also said reports of people who are conned are increasing with each passing day.

So the next time you move around town, be on the lookout and don’t tolerate good Samaritans in the streets because it appears this is a new of way making money for crooks and hoodlums.




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